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NEW CALEDONIA: VOTER LIST AMENDMENT CONTROVERSY



  Jun 15, 2024

NEW CALEDONIA: VOTER LIST AMENDMENT CONTROVERSY



The French territory of New Caledonia has witnessed widespread protests and riots in response to the French parliament’s decision to amend the voters’ list, triggering significant political and social tensions.

SIMPLIFIER: UNDERSTANDING THE NEW CALEDONIA ISSUE

Q: What is happening in New Caledonia?

A: New Caledonia is experiencing widespread protests and riots due to the French parliament’s decision to amend the voters’ list.

Q: What does the new amendment bill on the voters’ list stipulate?

A: The new amendment bill allows citizens who were either born in or have lived in New Caledonia for at least 10 years to be incorporated into the voters’ list.

Q: Why are the Kanaks against this amendment?

A: The Kanaks, the indigenous community, oppose the amendment because it dilutes their electoral power, giving a majority to the French loyalists and undermining their efforts towards decolonization.

Q: What is the history of New Caledonia?

A: The Kanaks are the original inhabitants. France took control in 1853, and after WWII, Kanaks were granted French citizenship. Increased migration from France in the 1960s turned Kanaks into a minority. Independence movements led to agreements in 1988 and 1998, which included referendums for independence. The first two referendums in 2018 and 2020 favored staying with France. The third in 2021, held despite Kanak objections due to COVID-19, also resulted in a vote against independence with a low turnout.

Q: Why do the Kanaks want independence?

A: Kanaks seek independence due to historical and ongoing social inequalities, economic exploitation, and lack of political power. Despite promises from France, social inequalities persist, with higher poverty rates among Kanaks compared to non-Kanaks.

Q: What is the French government’s strategy?

A: France aims to achieve tactical peace to avoid violence and protect its reputation. Integration of New Caledonia is essential for France’s Indo-Pacific strategy, as it solidifies its presence and strategic position against China in the region.



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